Acute intramyocardial lipid accumulation in rats does not slow cardiac conduction per se

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  • Christa F Jensen
  • Emil D Bartels
  • Thomas H Braunstein
  • Lars B Nielsen
  • Niels-Henrik Holstein-Rathlou
  • Lene N Axelsen
  • Nielsen, Morten Schak

Diabetic patients suffer from both cardiac lipid accumulation and an increased risk of arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death. This correlation suggests a link between diabetes induced cardiac steatosis and electrical abnormalities, however, the underlying mechanism remains unknown. We previously showed that cardiac conduction velocity slows in Zucker diabetic fatty rats and in fructose-fat fed rats, models that both exhibit prominent cardiac steatosis. The aim of this study was to investigate whether acute cardiac lipid accumulation reduces conduction velocity per se. Cardiac lipid accumulation was induced acutely by perfusing isolated rat hearts with palmitate-glucose buffer, or subacutely by fasting rats overnight. Subsequently, longitudinal cardiac conduction velocity was measured in right ventricular tissue strips, and intramyocardial triglyceride and lipid droplet content was determined by thin layer chromatography and BODIPY staining, respectively. Perfusion with palmitate-glucose buffer significantly increased intramyocardial triglyceride levels compared to perfusion with glucose (2.16 ± 0.17 (n = 10) vs. 0.92 ± 0.33 nmol/mg WW (n = 9), P < 0.01), but the number of lipid droplets was very low in both groups. Fasting of rats, however, resulted in both significantly elevated intramyocardial triglyceride levels compared to fed rats (3.27 ± 0.43 (n = 10) vs. 1.45 ± 0.24 nmol/mg WW (n = 10)), as well as a larger volume of lipid droplets (0.60 ± 0.13 (n = 10) vs. 0.21 ± 0.06% (n = 10), P < 0.05). There was no significant difference in longitudinal conduction velocity between palmitate-glucose perfused and control hearts (0.77 ± 0.025 (n = 10) vs. 0.75 m/sec ± 0.029 (n = 9)), or between fed and fasted rats (0.75 ± 0.042 m/sec (n = 10) vs. 0.79 ± 0.047 (n = 10)). In conclusion, intramyocardial lipid accumulation does not slow cardiac longitudinal conduction velocity per se. This is true for both increased intramyocardial triglyceride content, induced by palmitate-glucose perfusion, and increased intramyocardial triglyceride and lipid droplet content, generated by fasting.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere14049
JournalPhysiological Reports
Issue number7
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019

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